Thursday, 3 April 2014

Double Review: Scent of Magic & Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

Author Bio:
Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.
Maria’s research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.
Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.
Find Maria:
Goodreads  |  Website


Scent of Magic (Avry of Kazan #2)
Released: 1 January 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
At the Other End:
As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

Sum Up:
An explosive sequel full of action, romance and mystery. Leaves you shocked and craving for more.

Behind the 414 Pages
This book felt a little slow for me at times. I wanted to keep on going, but there was this small dragging feeling lurking there that kept slowing me down. I could easily put down, but it didn't take away my interest in the storyline. This only happens at times, not the whole way through the novel.

I absolutely loved seeing both Kerrick and Avry's perspectives. Even though they are apart, we know exactly what is happening as well as the torment of them both being worried about each other, and the rumors going around. It leaves us wanting to scream to them because of what is happening and what is the truth. Sometimes it feels like torture, getting to see two different things and both characters not knowing both sides, like we do. Even though it does get a bit frustrating, I still absolutely love these two!!

A lot of questions pop up during the novel, especially surrounding magic and the lilies. Early on, I predicted what was used as a weapon to the dead but it wasn't a major thing that kept nagging on me. It was a kind of prediction where you know it is going to happen, but it's at the back of your mind because of other things going on in the novel as well. Because of this, I didn't get much of a shock as I would have, it was just kind of like, 'Oh, ok then' and kept going.

Not much romance in this novel, we can tell it is the center-point of it all and is a major part of the series, yet in this book it kind of takes a back seat to other pressing matters. There is too much action and mystery that it's ok for the romance to take a back seat for now. The lack of romance doesn't torment us, because there is little of it, but propels us forward so that we can see them reunite again. How can you not love a happily-ever-after?

OK, this might be confusing, but you're just going to have to read this book to understand where I'm coming from. One part of the novel seemed to be skipped and as a major occurrence played out, it wasn't given as much justice as it should have, especially the one occurrence that practically made the start of the series build (don't worry, this happens at the end). When reading though, it doesn't really faze us, only when you think back to it that you realize this.

Overall, this novel doesn't disappoint. THE ENDING IS A KILLER!!!!!!!!! HOW CAN THIS POSSIBLY HAPPEN!!?!?!?!?! REMIND ME AGAIN WHEN TASTE OF DARKNESS IS COMING OUT?? Warning, it may be best to not read this novel until Taste of Darkness comes out, to save yourself the heartbreak and grief. There are no words to describe this ending. I honestly don't know what to do with myself while waiting for the final book.


Taste of Darkness (Avry of Kazan #3)
Released: 1 January 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
At the Other End:
She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?
What would you do if the future of your world rests on your decision?
Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.
But there's a more immediate theat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry’s healing powers are needed now more than ever.
Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully...because lives are depending on her.
Sum Up:
A fantastic conclusion to a captivating series. Maria V. Snyder has done it again! 

Behind the 458 Pages
So, I've come to the conclusion of one thing about Snyder's books.

The first book is always AMAZING! Leaving you hooked, reading in one sitting, and even craving reading that first book while you are reading others. The second book is just as thrilling, although it doesn't live up to everything that the first book is. It still gets you hooked, but it's just not as addicting as the first. Finally, the last book, it is a perfect happily-ever-after, but it doesn't have the same effects as the first two books do. The last book is can always be put down and it's easy to stop. It's not that craving, until the very end where everything starts to happen, then you are hooked, but still not as much as the others. I've found this same thing happen in this series, as well as her Study series.

I highly recommend that before you read this book, if you haven't read the predecessors to this book, you need to read them first. This book, literally continues on from the end of Scent of Magic and it doesn't really give you much from the previous book. So you have to really know and be familiar with what has just happened in the story. There is so much in these books, that even if the first two books are fresh in your mind, I swear these books will be a whole lot more enjoyable reading them together.

I absolutely love Kerrick! (just as much as Valek ;) ), he is amazing in this book and I fall in love with him even more. All the characters in these books are perfectly constructed. We love those in the main circle, and the ones we are supposed to hate, we do etc. I didn't find any of the main characters annoying, though I did get frustrated at Ryne. You get emotional (not to the point of tears), and you get shocked at the things that happen (JAEL!!!!!), and you laugh and have fun with the gang.

We get so caught up in both Avry and Kerrick's POVs, that we don't predict what is going to happen. We get shocked when they do, we love when they do, and we figure out plans and schemes when they do. I love this, because even though the actual book was easy to put down, it wasn't easy to let go of the characters and to still have that bond with them (hahaha bond *you'll understand the meaning of bond after reading this book*).

I felt like the ending was rushed, especially the last chapter. I love the way that everything played out, and I'm so happy for the happily-ever-after, but that last chapter felt really really rushed. This chapter could have been longer, and wouldn't have rushed through the ending events, that would have made me react more than I did. I was too busy trying to figure out what happened because it all happened so fast. 

You can purchase the Avry of Kazan series from all good bookshops and online!

What's Next:
Touch of Power (Avry of Kazan #1)
Behind 390 Pages
Released: 20 December 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
At the Other End:
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince, the leader of a campaign against her people.

As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for.

See my review of Touch of Power here!

This novel was received for review via Harlequin Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.

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